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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Methodology at work: semantic fields «sharp» and «blunt»

Kyuseva M., Ryzhova D., Parina E.

The article compares the qualities ‘sharp’ and 'blunt' in 20 languages. We show that they tend to be unequal, with bluntness being negatively defined through sharpness. The two main oppositions in the domain are 1) the type of sharp object, and 2) the sense through which the quality is primarily experienced. The first opposition divides objects into bladed (knives etc) and pointed (needles etc), the second deals with touch vs. vision and translates to function (sharp/blunt instruments etc) vs. shape (pointed/rounded features etc).

We also find that these oppositions determine the semantic shifts that a word of sharpness or bluntness can have, and that the metaphoric patterns are consistent across languages.

In book

Edited by: E. V. Rakhilina, T. Reznikova. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2019.